Acute Liver Failure or fulminant hepatic failure, is a rapid dysfunction of the liver that may be caused by several things such as taking too much of a certain drug (Acetaminophen). This condition is less common than chronic liver failure and usually happens to people with no existing liver disease. Acute liver failure may be treated with medicines however, in severe cases, a liver transplant may be recommended.

Acute liver failure may include the following symptoms:

  • Jaundice (Yellowing of the skin and eyeballs)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling or Pain of the Abdomen
  • Confusion (Loss of Focus)
  • Feeling unwell (Malaise)
  • Sleepiness


Acute liver failure may be diagnosed with the following procedure.

  • Blood tests – This process determines how long it takes for your blood to clot. If the blood doesn’t clot as quickly as it should, it may be an indication that the patient has acute liver failure.
  • Ultrasound, CT scan, MRI – Imaging tests may show your doctor the condition of your liver. Through this, the cause of your liver problem may be determined.
  • Liver Biopsy – A small piece of liver tissue is removed and examined to see what the cause of the liver failure is.



In most cases, people with acute liver failure are treated in a hospital. A lot of monitoring are needed to control complications. This disease may be treated by:

  • Medications – A drug called Acetylcysteine may be used to reverse the effect of Acetaminophen overdose which can be the cause of the disfunction of the liver. Mushroom and other poisonings, together with other drug, may help reduce liver damage.
  • Liver Transplant – A liver transplant is recommended if no medications work out to reverse the effects of the toxins. A healthy liver, from a donor, is used to replace the damaged liver.



A balance diet and healthy lifestyle may reduce your risk of having acute liver failure. These includes:

  • Drink moderately.
  • Avoid contact with other people’s blood and body fluids.
  • Avoid risky behaviour such as sharing needles and use condoms during sexual intercourse.
  • Follow instructions on medications. Do not overdose.
  • Inform your doctor of all other medications that you are taking. (Over-the-counter or herbal medicines)
  • Get Hepatitis vaccination.
  • Avoid eating wild mushrooms, especially if you are not certain that it is not poisonous.
  • Take care with aerosol sprays and follow the product instructions carefully.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

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